Deliver us from evil
The fight for our souls
All through our life there is a fight for our souls going on between God and the Devil. It started as soon as we were born, and it will end in victory for one side or the other when we die. On the one hand is the all-good and all-holy God who made us and who loves us; and on the other is the Devil, the Spirit and Lord of Evil, who hates us.
In order to win, the Devil must get us to obey him. By getting us to commit sin, that is, to do wrong in thought, word or act, he draws us away from God. And every time we sin, we are taken farther away from God’s keeping. People who die in God’s keeping belong to God for always. People who die separated from God, who do not love him or want him and who are not sorry for their sins – these people go to Hell, that place of endless separation from God where God is unseen and unknown.
So the Devil tries to get the better of us by doing his utmost to make us turn against God or to ignore him. He puts ideas into our heads to do wrong or to want to do wrong. He gets others to tempt us. He uses bad companions to do his work for him. From one point of view it is quite easy for the Devil to draw us away from God because human beings are born with a bias towards doing wrong. But, though the Devil is strong he is nothing like as strong as God, and he knows that. The Devil matched his strength with the strength of God on Good Friday when, by means of the Crucifixion, he tried his hardest to get Our Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son, to turn against his Father. The Devil failed miserably. And since only God is stronger than the Devil, only God can rescue us from the Devil.
So in the Lord’s Prayer we ask God to “deliver (rescue) us from evil”. The Catechism explains this by saying “I pray unto God…that he will keep us from all sin and wickedness and from our ghostly enemy, and from everlasting death”. Our “ghostly enemy” is our spiritual enemy, the Devil. “Everlasting death” is Hell, the opposite of eternal life which is life with God.
The way, therefore, by which we can be saved from the Devil is by being saved from the things the Devil wants us to do – “from all sin and wickedness”, as the Catechism puts it – and if we are saved from that here, we shall be saved from Hell hereafter.